Covers Willmar and area high schools and Ridgewater College, plus amateur baseball, stock car racing and fitness events in summer. Writes weekly column since 1980. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children.
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WILLMAR -- Ridgewater College has been so steady this century that it should have a reserved locker room at the NJCAA Division III National Volleyball Tournament. The Lady Warriors have reached the national semifinals five straight years and seven times since in 2001. The program has two national championships, in 2002 and 2006. Last winter, the Willmar team finished third at nationals. Eight players return and they have a score to settle. "That group of players recognizes that we likely played our worst match in our semifinal match last year," commented Ridgewater coach Joe Sussenguth.
Girls Tennis COACH Erika Kath ASSISTANT COACH Brandt Lager LOOKING BACK Central Lakes Conference: 4-4, 5th place Overall: 6-8 KEY DATES Season/home opener: Thursday, triangular with New London-Spicer and Hutchinson, 9 a.m. Central Lakes Conference opener: Aug. 31 at St. Cloud Apollo vs.: Apollo and Sauk Rapids, 4:30 p.m. CLC Tournament: Sept. 25 at St. Cloud South Section: Start Oct.
WILLMAR - The time has come. Three years of preparation come to a point today with the start of the 2010 Minnesota State Amateur Baseball Tournament. Beginning in 1975, Willmar hosted numerous American Legion State Tournaments but the state am is a first.
BIRD ISLAND - If Target Field is the newest pride and joy of downtown Minneapolis, this town of 1,200 citizens on U.S. Highway 212 can point to Lion's Memorial Park with similar affection. The ballpark is a monument to community spirit on the level prairie.
SPICER -- After a week of intense heat around a thunder storm, the seventh annual Green Lake Triathlon got a golden break. On a mild Sunday morning with the temperature in the mid-60s, a swarm of athletes of all abilities swam, cycled and ran. "What a beautiful course," said Jill Ellenbecker of Coon Rapids, who won the women's Sprint course. "There was a strong headwind the last four miles of the bike, but I just love the setting for this race and the weather was near perfect." The Green Lake Triathlon is four races in one.
Casey Johnson has the Willmar Cardinals wrestling program on an upward trajectory but he won't be on board to savor it. The 29-year-old physical education teacher will be teaching and coaching elsewhere this school year. "It's bittersweet," he said this week of his departure after three years as head coach. He's accepted a teaching and coaching position in Albany.